Sheriff's deputy strikes, kills bicyclist in Carroll

September 21, 2006|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,sun reporter

A 21-year-old Westminster man - who planned to return home in December to Michoacan, Mexico, to marry his fiancee - was struck and killed by an on-duty Carroll County sheriff's deputy while riding a bicycle across Route 140 in Westminster on Tuesday night, authorities said yesterday.

Mario Garcia Salgado of the first block of Ward Ave. was riding home from his night job at a KFC restaurant in the Town Mall when he was hit about 10:40 p.m. Garcia Salgado died at the scene, said Lt. Phil Kasten, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The driver, Cpl. Carlos Bustos, was treated for cuts to his left arm and hand at Carroll Hospital Center, Kasten said. Bustos has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues, Kasten said.

Of about 65 deputies at the sheriff's office, Bustos, a five-year veteran, is the only fluent Spanish speaker.

"He has an impeccable record of community service," Kasten said.

At least a dozen of Garcia Salgado's relatives and friends gathered at his Westminster rowhouse last night to mourn him and make arrangements to return his body for a Roman Catholic funeral in his ranching hometown of Michoacan.

Attempts to reach the Mexican Embassy in Washington to arrange to ship the body had been unsuccessful as of yesterday. The relatives said they would chip in for the expected $3,500 cost of transporting the body.

"What I want is justice," the victim's uncle, Jaime Garcia, 28, said through a translator. "If this was an unfair accident, the government should support us."

Garcia Salgado moved to Harrisburg, Pa., three years ago and soon moved to Westminster. He and his four brothers support their parents, who live in Mexico.

"He was a hard-working person and a good brother," Antonio Garcia Salgado, 18, said of his older brother, who also had a day job at a New Windsor lumber supply company.

Jaime Garcia said his nephew neither drank nor smoked. On his rare days or afternoons off, Mario Garcia Salgado liked to play soccer, relatives said.

After his marriage in Mexico, he had an appointment to secure a work visa to return to the U.S., Jaime Garcia said.

The accident took place on a busy section of the highway that has no crosswalk, Kasten said. Bustos had been patrolling eastbound Route 140, the spokesman said.

Though a commercial corridor with a nearby car dealership, that section of Route 140 had several streetlights out, Kasten said.

The incident is being investigated by the Westminster Police Department and state police.

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